As per the latest announcement, The Great Muta will be joining Rey Mysterio in the WWE Hall of Fame 2023 Class. A mainstay of the Japanese circuit, he rose to prominence during his run in All Japan Pro Wrestling. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion has various other accomplishments backing his legendary status.
Real name Keiji Muto, Muta’s experience in judo helped him in his pro wrestling career. His skills were refined under the guidance of notable Japanese wrestler Hiro Matsuda in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dojo. Debuting at the age of 22, Muta’s first fight was against Masahiro Chono.
Having gained popularity, The Great Muta traveled to the United States and bagged multiple NWA Titles. He primarily fought in Florida before moving to Texas under the moniker of The Super Black Ninja. It wasn’t long before NWA affiliate, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) hired the gem of a wrestler.
Muta feuded with notable stars like Lex Luger, Ric Flair, and Stunning Steve Austin after debuting in 1989. His tenure lasted for over a decade and it was enough to gain him international popularity. He came close to winning the world title as well as the tag team titles on multiple occasions.
The Great Muta left WCW in late 2000 after which he stuck to AJPW. A non-compete clause in his WCW contract prevented him from competing in the WWF. Although he hasn’t wrestled a single match for the Stamford-based promotion, he is part of the WWE Hall of Fame 2023 category, highlighting the caliber and worldwide respect for the legend.
A tag team specialist, the 60-year-old veteran is a six-time IWGP Tag Team Champion with different partners. He is also a former WWC world champion, winner of the 2015 TNA Impact Global Tournament, and former GHC Heavyweight Champion in Pro Wrestling NOAH. A friend of The WCW Icon, Muta also appeared in All Elite Wrestling to save Sting during an episode of Rampage in 2022.
WWE Hall of Fame 2023: When did The Great Muta retire?
The Great Muta had a series of matches to highlight his departure from pro wrestling. He wrestled under his renowned moniker for the last time on January 22, 2023, at The Great Muta Final ‘Bye-Bye’ event. Teaming with Sting and Darby Allin, Muta defeated Hakushi, Akira, and Naomichi Marufuji.
On February 21 at the Keiji Muto Grand Final Pro-Wrestling ‘Last-Love’ event, the WWE Hall of Fame 2023 inductee wrestled the final full match of his professional wrestling career. He lost to NOAH commentator Masahiro Chono; a result opposite to that of when they first met in the ring in 1984.
The Great Muta’s WWE Hall of Fame 2023 induction was arguably propelled by his match against SmackDown superstar Shinsuke Nakamura. The bout at the Noah The New Year event remains a wrestling classic for the ages.
Could two WWE legends reunite outside WWE? We asked one of them here